Feeds

MoveOn tells Facebook to stop shining Beacon

Bright light, bright light

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Facebook has been hit by yet another privacy backlash, this time from an online democracy watchdog which has mounted a campaign against part of the social networking site's new advertising strategy.

MoveOn.org charges that Facebook's Beacon ad program violates privacy because it automatically broadcasts what a user has bought on external partner sites to their friends', family and acquaintances' so-called News Feeds.

It reckons that displaying private purchases is "a huge invasion of privacy" and that the app itself poses problems for users because it is difficult to opt out of altogether.

Instead, Facebook users have to opt out of participating retail sites such as eBay on a case-by-case basis because there is no universal option.

"A lot of us love Facebook - it's helping to revolutionise the way we connect with each other," said MoveOn, "but they need to take privacy seriously."

Unsurprisingly, a protest group against the ad program has been set up on Facebook in which users have posted testimonials that say Christmas has been ruined because gifts they have bought have been published on their News Feeds.

The group currently has close to 5,000 members criticising Facebook's latest method of punting user data to marketeers.

Like many other Web 2.0 beasts, Facebook has been tinkering with ways and means of making social networking a lucrative money-spinner. Boss Mark Zuckerberg has dubbed this new system Social Ads.

In a statement about the latest brouhaha, Facebook said yesterday: "Information is shared with a small selection of a user's trusted network of friends, not publicly on the web or with all Facebook users.

"Users also are given multiple ways to choose not to share information from a participating site, both on that site and on Facebook."

Meanwhile, MoveOn has called for Facebook to reverse what it described as a "massive privacy breach". Oddly, in a Web 2.0 twist, it's also encouraging people to join its Facebook protest group. But of course first you have to be a member of the ubiquitous social networking utility... ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, watchdog claims
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.